Bank Piles On Overdraft Fees Due To Merchant Error, Doesn't Seem Too Keen On Refunding Them

Here’s a story from a reader about a bad bank practice that we hear about too frequently—a bank cascades hundreds of dollars worth of overdraft fees on an error that’s beyond the customer’s control, but then is unresponsive or uncooperative on refunding those fees.

D writes,

Someone close to me just lost $250 out of her savings because a store charged her debit card 10 times for the same transaction. When, days later, they reversed all but one of the charges, the overdraft fees for those 9 charges went away as well, but not the overdrafts for all the other purchases made during that period.

When she contacted her bank, they said it was the store’s responsibility and to contact them for reimbursement. When she finally got a hold of them, they said she needed to fill out a form and send it to them with an unaltered (eg, intact account #s etc) bank statement. Oh and that form would get mailed out to her sometime in the next month.

Is this normal? Is there someone else we should be talking to? I haven’t mentioned the names of the companies because this didn’t happen to me personally, and I am just seeking advice, so if your advice is “have her email you with more details”, that’s fine.

This is one of those situations where we think your friend needs to push now and push hard to get the bank and/or the company to fix this problem. The thing is, she didn’t create this problem, so the onus shouldn’t be on her to try to get it fixed. We think she should launch EECBs at both the bank and the merchant who screwed up, and very clearly make her request that these added penalties get refunded to her account immediately.

She may also want to contact politicians who are sympathetic to the cause of reducing the free-for-all overdraft environment banks currently enjoy—this is exactly the kind of example that illustrates how far banks have gone with exploiting this “service” for profit.

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(Photo: zak_greant)